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Eating disorders

General practice

Services delivered within a general practice setting, including a person's usual GP and practice nurse

What is it?

A general practitioner (GP) will often be the first point of contact within the healthcare system for someone seeking support with an eating disorder. A GP’s role includes prevention, identification, diagnosis, making referrals and medical management.

What can someone expect?

If you’re a family member or carer of someone with an eating disorder, their GP may seek to work collaboratively with you and include you in assessment, treatment and recovery support. The person must provide consent for this. Their GP may also provide you with information or advice on the broad range of services and supports that can assist you or your loved one.

If the GP makes a diagnosis of an eating disorder and determines that your loved one is medically stable, the GP will prepare an Eating Disorder Treatment and Management Plan (EDTMP) to support your loved one’s needs.

If they determine your loved one is medically unstable, the GP may recommend a hospital admission. In this situation, your loved one may be admitted to either a medical bed or a psychiatric bed. Excluding potentially life-threatening situations, hospital admission is voluntary, and the GP will ensure your loved one and you are involved in the decision.

If you’re a GP who is supporting a patient with an eating disorder, increasing your knowledge and understanding about eating disorders can help you be an effective member of their care team. Your role as a GP can involve:

  • undertaking screening and assessment for early detection of symptoms
  • developing eating disorder treatment and management plans
  • making referrals to other medical specialists and allied health professionals to support treatment and recovery goals
  • providing ongoing medical monitoring, management and coordination of the person’s care team.

There are information resources and professional development activities specifically tailored to support GPs in the identification, referral and delivery of care to people experiencing eating disorders.

Who is this for?

If you care for someone with an eating disorder, you may want to know how you can assist your loved one to access their GP and support their treatment plan.

If you’re a GP providing care to a patient with an eating disorder or suspected eating disorder, you may wish to increase your knowledge and skills in the delivery of evidence-based treatment for eating disorders.

How can someone access it?

As a family member or carer of someone with an eating disorder, understanding the process of Getting an Eating Disorder Diagnosis and treatment options can help you support your loved one.

As a GP looking to improve your knowledge or skills around treatment for eating disorders, the following training and support resources are available:

GPs can also contact QuEDS for clinical advice and to arrange a specialist consultation for their patients by calling 07 3114 0809.

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